Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hartford Courant Rates Outhouses Above Holocaust

This is contributed by June Neal, who was understandably outraged that the Hartford Courant did not have room for any article about the Annual Statewide Holocaust Commemoration in the State Capitol, needing the room for an important story about outhouses, and had a highly inappropriate article as its major feature story, and thus far its only feature story, about Israel's Sixtieth Anniversary.

We add one thing to June's message:

The Hartford Courant's Reader Representative is Karen Hunter. Her email is khunter@courant.com.


Friday morning, May 9, we held the Annual Statewide Holocaust commemoration: Highlights:

  • the 30th anniversary of the State program.
  • students participating in the "Adopt a Survivor" program read portions of their partners' harrowing experiences,escorted them to light the yellow memorial candles, and pledged to tell the survivors' stories for as long as the students lived.
  • the event coincided with Israel's 60th anniversary,
  • for the first time inour State's history, the Israeli flag flew over our state Capitol.
  • The Governer read a Proclamation.

Coverage in the Saturday, May 10,edition? None.

However,in that same edition, the Courant gave its most important space, front page above the fold, usually reserved for major news,to asix-column story--- on outhouses. It included two, 4-column photos plus two smaller ones, an incredible amount of space, again, usually reserved for major events. If you don't have a copy,it is still online.

The next day, Sunday May 11.

The Courant chose toaddress Israel's 60th anniversary, not by the miracle of its birth against all odds, not by the fact it is the only democracy in the Middle East, not by its mind-boggling accomplishments and gifts to the world--but only by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

True, there is a large photo of an Israeli man praying at the Western Wall, perhaps an attempt at "balance." If so, it fails, as it does nothing to counter the huge political holes and one-sided anecdotes in the story and photo cutlines.

  • Note the "Lemon Tree" story of the woman who discovered her house was formerly owned by Palestinians who had been "forcibly evacuated." Context? No mention of the leaders of the Arab states who were about to attack the newborn Jewish state and who told the Palestinians to run, or of Ben-Gurion's urging them to stay.
  • No mention of the tens of thousands of Jews forced out of their homeland Arab states, leaving land, homes and assets behind.
  • The cutline under a photo of a group of Palestiniansangry about Land Day, pointing at an Israeli soldier. "...Israeli government's confiscation of Arab land." Context? Land Day refersto land which Israel took by eminent domain for necessary public projects and for which the Arabs were compensated. No mention of the land taken from the Jews by the Arabs in Gaza.
  • Statement about the Intifada after Ariel Sharon visited a "Muslim holy site, the Temple Mount." Context? No mention that it is a Jewish holy site as well.
  • An Arab League proposal to "recognize Israel if it returns to the borders that existed prior to 1967,"a condition which will leave Israel's borders indefensible, since Hamas, a terrorist group dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, is in control.
  • There is not a word about the truth about the Jewish people's right to the land or how Israel came into being; its 4,000 year presence in the land; the legal purchases of tracts of land by Jews beginning inthe 1800's, way before nationhood; or the Jewish Agency's proposal to share the land with the Arabs, each group having its own state.
  • No word about how Israel came to hold the territories: the multiple attacks by multiple Arab nations that caused Israel to take over the territories to prevent further attacks, or the millions of dollars and food, medical care, water, etc, that Israel provides for the Palestinians, despite their continual rocket attacks on Jewish civilians.

I have no problem with a discussion of both sides of the issue. I have no doubt the interviewee loves Israel. But I strongly object to the article's gaping omissions and the connotation of moral equivalency. The overriding, critical issue was addressed only by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs: Israel's right to exist.

I hope scores of Letters to the Editor letters@courant.comexpress a demand for future balanced, factual, coverage of this topic.

  • Please do not ignore this and assume other people will take care of it. You are the other people.
  • No matter where you live, and even if you don't read the Courant, many others do. It is the largest, most powerful newspaper in the State.
  • If you need help writing a letter, just let me know, or contact Alan Stein, president of PRIMER at a.stein@snet.net.
  • In additioin, please send this to your trusted lists, not forwarded from me but your own name, so your friends will know you are concerned.

Letters should be less than 200 words, to the point, and not pejorative or threatening. We want to remind the editors and publisher that a free press isn't a cornerstone of democracy, a responsible free press is.

Please forward to your trusted e-mail lists.

The articles may be viewed at:

Outhouse Story: www.courant.com/news/local/hc-outhouses0510.artmay10,0,5078672.story.

Israel at 60 Story: www.courant.com/news/nationworld/hc-israell600511.artmay11,0,4709654.story.

Thank you,

No comments: